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Subject: Gaming Etiquette - What do you do when you're absolutely, positively NOT into the game rss

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Eric Etkin
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[game name removed to protect the innocent]

Ok - so, last night my game group decided to play a popular minis-style game. Of the four players including myself, this was the dynamic:

Player 1 - Owned said game and has a decent wad of cash sunken into it. Has played it a few times and clearly enjoys it. Enjoys and has a crazy amount of skin already in said game's sister game.

Player 2 - Has played game once, also has massive amounts of skin invested into the sister game.

Player 3 - Hasn't played, but has some experience with sister game.

Player 4 (me) - Haven't played, have played sister game a few times and found it to be a bit fiddly and long but not wholly unenjoyable. Every time we've played it, however, we've played as teams, as it's (generally) a 1v1 game. I find the team dynamic in a 1v1 to not be all that fun, for reasons I don't think are relevant to this topic.

Said new game is conventionally also 1v1, however to accommodate the four of us, we played as teams. Again, not my ideal situation, but I'll cope. The rules were explained to me, which I got the basics of, and then we were instructed to build our forces with a dump of upgrades, enhancements, ships, etc.

At THAT point my eyes entirely glazed over. I find army building to be about as fun as creating tax spreadsheets. And this portion of the evening took us at least an hour.

We then get to said game, which by this point the basics I understand are so cluttered with grafted on mechanical exceptions and powerups that I'm completely disengaged.

So at this point... I politely wait my turn, which happens every 15-20 minutes and involves about 1-2 minutes of my time, as I have no understanding of the rules and game intricacies in order to make a remotely useful decision.

So now I'm -

1Disengaged

2Not understanding what's going on because whatever intuitive systems I DID get initially are now mucked up by "but this guy can do THIS" and the ridiculously long space between turns.

3Feeling pretty stupid because of the above (ie. why do I not get this?)

4Unable to muster any sort of enthusiasm for the game, which further feeds my disinterest in attempting to learn further.


So hours go by. Hours of agonizing bit fiddling and crap happening that I don't understand. I've said nothing disparaging, but clearly I don't enjoy the game, and now I'm being called out on this. Further, my lack of enthusiasm is clearly sucking out the joy of my game group.

So - What does one do in this situation? Keep playing the game, because walking away is lame and not good player behavior?

Suck it up and pretend to enjoy what I'm doing?

Play the damn game, but make no pretenses about enjoying myself?

This sort of thing happens - maybe - 20-30% of the time when I play. I don't find the game fun, but muddle through. And by the end of the evening i feel like I've generally wasted 4+ hours of my life.

TLDR; Are you obligated to "enjoy" a game for the greater sake of the group, or is it ok to crealy dislike something and play it anyway?



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Bryan Thunkd
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Quote:
So hours go by. Hours of agonizing bit fiddling and crap happening that I don't understand. I've said nothing disparaging, but clearly I don't enjoy the game, and now I'm being called out on this. Further, my lack of enthusiasm is clearly sucking out the joy of my game group.

So - What does one do in this situation? Keep playing the game, because walking away is lame and not good player behavior?
Be honest. Tell them you're not enjoying the game at all and you don't find the experience fun in the slightest. You said you're playing as teams? In that case I'd drop out and let the other guy on my team play solo... you wouldn't be messing up the game experience by dropping out in that situation.

But you also have a responsibility going forward to be more upfront and honest about the type of games you enjoy and don't get involved with things like this that are going to be unpleasant for you. Bow out before the game begins instead of halfway through next time.
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maf man
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well I've seen that glazed eye look on some of my friends when I introduce a game to them, being that I'm much more of a gamer. But I trudge through it. Why? because they are my friends and I know them well enough to know after a few shots they will understand it quickly.
So maybe not only do they like the game but they believe once you get it all you'll like it too.

Then again some games you just not gonna enjoy. Make it known to your group, talk to them about why, maybe you'll learn something new about your tastes and can make the game more to your liking.
Try to get some fun out of it, try to keep a positive mind, just don't act.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Once you start a game do not spoil it for the others, just do not play it again.

To be honest the way they re playing it sounds wrong, I try to get armies worked out before play (in fact I have list saved and can just print one off as needed).
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Zoe M
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Quote:
This sort of thing happens - maybe - 20-30% of the time when I play. I don't find the game fun, but muddle through. And by the end of the evening i feel like I've generally wasted 4+ hours of my life.


This percentage seems way too high. Maybe you should be a bit more assertive going in? Don't start a multi-hour game that you expect not to like.
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I would stick to a game I have already agreed to play and make the best of it as I can, and then next time be more frank about my likes and dislikes. After all, I wouldn't much like it if someone bailed in the middle of one of my favorites.
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Ben Wilkinson
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Mention to the group that it's not quite what you thought in case they have pointers that could either help you make more sense of it or increase your enjoyment of it. Do your upmost to make the best of the situation and play it out to the end but in the future do more research into the games that you play and that are going to come up. Either you have an idea in advance what you might play in which case you can find out how it plays and whether it's something you're going to enjoy or understand enough that you can give it your best shot. Otherwise if it's decided upon on the day what you're playing, you can spot enough of the warning signs and decline from the start.
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Derry Salewski
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20-30 percent of the time . . . either get better at knowing what you like, or get better at saying "no," at least, if you are unable to offer constructive teaching criticism.

I mean, it sounds like some idiot is trying to teach you X-wing or something and make you build your own fleets. Screw that. He wants to teach it, he spends the (small, for him) amount of time making SIMPLE starter sets for players to learn with.

But if none of you four are clever enough to figure out how to plan this all in advance well . . . it'll keep happening.
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Eric Etkin
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Thunkd wrote:

But you also have a responsibility going forward to be more upfront and honest about the type of games you enjoy and don't get involved with things like this that are going to be unpleasant for you. Bow out before the game begins instead of halfway through next time.


Agreed - but this is tricky. A lot of times, I'm really not sure why I like a game vs. dislike another,a nd i don't know until I'm 50% into the game.

For example... I can't for the life of me explain why I like Terra Mystica, but find Eclipse is a cardboard soul-sucker.

Part of what sucks is that I'm finding I very clearly have a mental definition between "this game is fun" and "this game is challenging and an experience that could be rewarding," and I've found most gamers lump those two things together.

Generally speaking though - for me, a "fun" game is something where rules are mostly intuitive and extension of what you want to do, and at least 50% of my group finds "fun" out of instead understanding the concert of mechanisms and figuring out a way to exploit it. Very few games I've played seem to support both styles of "fun."
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Under the paving stones, the beach
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In this situation, I think you dropping out is probably the least worst option. Especially as it doesn't sound like it's a short game. I think it might be indicative of a wider issue though, because of this:

MOTHDevil wrote:
This sort of thing happens - maybe - 20-30% of the time when I play. I don't find the game fun, but muddle through. And by the end of the evening i feel like I've generally wasted 4+ hours of my life.


That strikes me as way more frequent than it should be.

Does the group need to be better at explaining what a game entails? Or maybe deciding on a game in advance so you can look it up yourself? Because it sounds like you'd have known this game wasn't for you, if you'd known more about it.

It's also possible that your gaming tastes don't fit that well with this particular gaming group.
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Jeff G
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MOTHDevil wrote:


Said new game is conventionally also 1v1, however to accommodate the four of us, we played as teams. Again, not my ideal situation, but I'll cope. The rules were explained to me, which I got the basics of, and then we were instructed to build our forces with a dump of upgrades, enhancements, ships, etc.



If its the game I'm thinking of, I think this is the problem. How exactly did the person expect you to build an Armada when you don't have a solid grasp of the rules yet. Should've started you all with a pretty bare-bones bunch of ships and let you do a tutorial game. Eat the elephant one bite at a time, so to speak.

But, to answer as the question at hand, I don't think people can expect you to do anything but try your best to endure that one game and just be honest if people want to play again. That was basically my experience with my first experience of Arkham Horror - you hate to be the drag sucking the fun out of a game, but if you truly are bored out of your mind, the only other option is to bow out mid-game.
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Eric Etkin
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Dunyazad wrote:
Quote:
This sort of thing happens - maybe - 20-30% of the time when I play. I don't find the game fun, but muddle through. And by the end of the evening i feel like I've generally wasted 4+ hours of my life.


This percentage seems way too high. Maybe you should be a bit more assertive going in? Don't start a multi-hour game that you expect not to like.


To be honest... that percentage might be even higher. We typically keep playing new board games, rather than the same game.

So what happens is they spend 10-20 minutes explaining how to play the game to me (which doesn't work because I don't learn like that). And then we start playing... I have to constantly be reminded how something works (exacerbated by unintuitive "gamey" mechanisms), and maybe by hour 2 of a 3 hour game I start to get an inkling of how the game actually works. Int he meantime, the optimizing-minded players have this thing figured out by the 30 minute mark and have sufficiently built up their engine or lead in the face of my sub-par challenge. And then we play a different game next time.

Ugh. It's Just. Not. Fun. But my group tends toward playing new games, and typically games on the rules-dense, long length spectrum.
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Eric Etkin
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scifiantihero wrote:
I mean, it sounds like some idiot is trying to teach you X-wing or something and make you build your own fleets. Screw that. He wants to teach it, he spends the (small, for him) amount of time making SIMPLE starter sets for players to learn with.


Pretty close. Though he/they are definitely not idiots and it's not QUITE that game.

The main issue in THIS case (and with the game you mentioned) is:

1) We keep playing it team play, which makes the turns take forEVER and the lists huge.

2) I've never played the starter experiences of these games to grok the base mechanics. It's like teaching someone checkers and then when you show up they give you a chessboard... And in the meantime, they've all been playing chess before you even got there.
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I have an idea why Terra Mystica is one you enjoy and Eclipse is not.
TM is not about area control, its about area leach, where you interact with indirectly to leach off for yourself. Eclipse, is area control with direct confrontation.

You really should know your gaming circle, IE what elements I enjoy, and if you play with the same people you should know their gaming circles.

In my group that is the key. We do not play games if we know someone there wont really enjoy it. We pull that game out when they arent there. You need to start going through mechanisms, objectives ect to see what you enjoy, and work with that.

Go through the games you like, see what is implemented in them, and see how they differ than the games you know you do not like. This will get your 30% down to levels that it should be, 1 in every 15 - 20
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Chris Laudermilk
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It does sound like perhaps your game tastes to mesh with the group's all that well.

In similar situations in the past, I've opted for the last option: play the damn game but don't pretend I like it. I won't get mean or whiny, but I'll certainly make no bones about my feelings. If I pretend to like it, the group will just likely suggest it again; this way they know to keep it off the table when I'm there. An example: a family member does not like competitive games (particularly the take-that types), but likes the coop ones. No problem. When we ask her to join us, the game selection is from the coops we own--everybody's happy.

It also sounds like the game owner failed in pre-game prep. From the type of game it sounds like, there should have been some prepared forces to just hand you & get going playing. That would have saved ALL the rules explanation and time on that aspect of the game which a newbie doesn't care about yet.

With it being a team setup, worst case is point out you are REALLY not enjoying it & offer to bow out.
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Bobby Bob
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You could always fake a faint during a game. Then in future go a little funny when they take the box out before a game and blaim it on the traumatic memories of your faint.
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Eric Etkin
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pieaddict wrote:
You could always fake a faint during a game. Then in future go a little funny when they take the box out before a game and blaim it on the traumatic memories of your faint.


Brilliant. A reputation killer, but brilliant.
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I once had a friend at a game night that the selection went through and we ended up playing a game he thoroughly hated, so he decided to see how badly he could play. He made it a goal to get as close to zero points as possible, and that in itself became the game.

I found it entertaining to see him think so hard for his moves to make absolutely no points. It was a strategy in itself. I made sure that I would not only play to win, but to play to get him points on the board.

If the universe forces you to take lemons, make a Mai Tai. Luckily for the universe it was not Puerto Rico.
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J M
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pieaddict wrote:
You could always fake a faint during a game. Then in future go a little funny when they take the box out before a game and blaim it on the traumatic memories of your faint.


A guy at university really wasn't enjoying the big game of MTG we had going (this was in 1996 or so). He self-induced an epileptic seizure*. Turned out it was a thing he was known for. Nobody played MTG with him again.

*yes, of course one of us went with him in the ambulance.
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Alison Mandible
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MOTHDevil wrote:
Ugh. It's Just. Not. Fun. But my group tends toward playing new games, and typically games on the rules-dense, long length spectrum.


What do they say when you say that you often don't enjoy games like that, and would prefer playing a game you've played before?
 
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I find myself playing a lot of games I don't necessarily enjoy. I keep a few craft projects around like knitting or something that I can do at the table to amuse myself. I have been a bit more proactive about avoiding games I don't like all that much.
 
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Shawn Harriman
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I can relate.

I do not enjoy the game experience you describe.

An hour building an army to then wait 15-20 minutes for a 2 minute turn sounds abysmal.

I try to avoid getting into this spot but sometimes you just gotta play the game you really don't want to.
 
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AceAceBaby wrote:
pieaddict wrote:
You could always fake a faint during a game. Then in future go a little funny when they take the box out before a game and blaim it on the traumatic memories of your faint.


A guy at university really wasn't enjoying the big game of MTG we had going (this was in 1996 or so). He self-induced an epileptic seizure*. Turned out it was a thing he was known for. Nobody played MTG with him again.

*yes, of course one of us went with him in the ambulance.


Jeez, I didn't think someone would actually try it. One day they will have a real one and noone will believe them.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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MOTHDevil wrote:
So what happens is they spend 10-20 minutes explaining how to play the game to me (which doesn't work because I don't learn like that). And then we start playing... I have to constantly be reminded how something works (exacerbated by unintuitive "gamey" mechanisms), and maybe by hour 2 of a 3 hour game I start to get an inkling of how the game actually works. Int he meantime, the optimizing-minded players have this thing figured out by the 30 minute mark and have sufficiently built up their engine or lead in the face of my sub-par challenge. And then we play a different game next time.

Ugh. It's Just. Not. Fun. But my group tends toward playing new games, and typically games on the rules-dense, long length spectrum.
Have you considered taking up fly-fishing instead?
 
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J M
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pieaddict wrote:

Jeez, I didn't think someone would actually try it. One day they will have a real one and noone will believe them.


It was a real one. He triggered himself deliberately. That's the kind of person he was.
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